Best Shooting Rest Reviews – 2017 Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Caldwell Lead Sled DFT
Are you having trouble finding the best shooting rests online? It can be difficult especially if you have never bought one, but I have done the work for you here.

A shooting rest is important in reducing recoil and to ensure you’ll get the best results. That’s what I have done here by compiling the top 10 shooting rests.

Anytime you’re buying a product, reading reviews is necessary to ensure you get the best value for your money. That’s why I included all the vital features, pros and cons.

Without further ado, here are my picks.

Top 10 Shooting Rest: Comparison

NameFrame MaterialDimensionsWeightView on Amazon
Caldwell The Rock BR Competition Front Shooting RestSteel16.2 x 11.6 x 6.2 inches7 lbsCheck Price
Caldwell Lead Sled Plus Recoil Reducing Rifle RestSteel3.9 x 25.8 x 11.3 inches15 lbsCheck Price
Caldwell Lead Sled DFTSteel30.2 x 14.4 x 5.5 inches24 lbsCheck Price
Caldwell Lead Sled Solo Shooting RestSteel6.5 x 24 x 8.5 inches10 lbsCheck Price
CTK® P3 Ultimate Shooting RestSteel25 x 18 inches7 lbsCheck Price
Caldwell Dead Shot Field PodCast aluminum24.4 x 6 x 7.2 inches6 lbsCheck Price
MTM Predator Shooting RestSteel21 x 19 x 6 inches4 lbsCheck Price
Guide Gear Bench RestSteel11 1/2 x 20 inches8 lbsCheck Price
Primos Group Therapy Bench Anchor Adjustable Shooting RestSteel10 x 10 x 12 inches23.5 lbsCheck Price
MTM Front Rifle RestSteel12 x 6 x 4 inches2.7 lbsCheck Price


Best pick of Shooting Rest Reviews

#1: Caldwell The Rock BR Competition Front Shooting Rest Review

Caldwell The Rock BR Competition Front Shooting Rest
If you check out feedback for shooting rest for ar15 products, the Rock BR is one that comes up a lot. There are many reasons, not the least of which is its adjustable cradle.

It is the cradle that allows you to make pinpoint, accurate adjustments. Its two-elevation adjustment is good for 11 1/2 inches, testament to its flexibility.

The Rock disperses weight along on the 14 inch footprint, and its recoil reduction is excellent. It also comes with two kinds of front bags and is compatible with all Caldwell bags.

Precision has always been a hallmark of Caldwell and it’s evident here. Its precision adjustments use ball bearings to ensure accuracy.

The Rock’s main objective is to get optimum performance from your ammo and rifle. With its heavy duty engineering, the Rock is ideal for shooters that put emphasis on accuracy.

Its ball bearing rotational mechanism allows a shooter to fine tune adjustments. It also has a varmint bag for sporter type forends and three-hole bag.

For accuracy and durability the Rock delivers the goods.

What I Like
  • Precise adjustments
  • Compact footprint
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent ball bearing mechanism
What I Didn’t Like
  •  The bag fabric is flimsy
  • Screw elevation adjustment could be easier

#2: Caldwell Lead Sled Plus Recoil Reducing Rifle Rest Review

Caldwell Lead Sled Plus Recoil Reducing Rifle Rest
This Caldwell shooting rest for sighting in is one of the best in the industry, period. Not only is it compatible with a lot of firearms but it is also durable.

The most important feature is the significant recoil reduction, up to 95%. If you use a powerful rifle then this is going to make a huge impact, comfort wise.

The shooting rest works as well for slug guns as well as handguns. The inclusion of the weight tray is nice as it accommodates weight bags.

Since the weight tray is adjustable, you’ll have no problems using it. The lead shot capacity is 100 lbs, underscoring its efficiency.

The Lead Sled can hold a couple of 25 lb bar bells, and it does not wobble at all. The unit is built for heavy recoil rifles and it shows in its performance.

Like other Caldwell rifles, the Lead Sled uses the proprietary Dual Frame Technology for better performance. The shooting rest is also durable and can withstand heavy usage.

What I Like
  • Compatible with short and long firearms
  • Excellent recoil reduction
  • Doesn’t wobble
  • Easy to operate
What I Didn’t Like
  • Rear holder pads could use extra inserts
  • Weight area insufficient for very large weight plates

#3: Caldwell Lead Sled DFT Review

Caldwell Lead Sled DFT
The DFT has gotten a lot of good feedback and it is not surprising. As shooting rest reviews have pointed out, the DFT has an elevation rear collar, allowing you to shoot in the right position.

The DFT also has a unique tray and baffle system that enhances weight dispersion. This is an important feature as it eliminates a lot of the problems that come with shooting.

The DFT windage and elevation alignments are also very precise. Adjustment is up to 18 inches and the fingertip control is a nice touch.

This shooting rest also has a specially made dual frame system. This allows you to make adjustments up to 22 inches for increased flexibility.

The DFT works with a wide range of rifles and it is also ideal if you’re using a powerful gun. Apart from recoil reduction, the DFT also makes it easy to shoot in tight groups.

I also like the front support cradle design. It is very flexible and allows you to use the DFT with long firearms and pistols.

What I Like
  • Works with various shotguns and rifles
  • Easy to adjust
  • Improve shooting accuracy
  • Weight dispersion is excellent
What I Didn’t Like
  • Works better on typical rifles than the AR
  • Support beams are too close

#4: Caldwell Lead Sled Solo Shooting Rest Review

Caldwell Lead Sled Solo Shooting Rest
If you’re after the best shooting rest for the money then the Sled Solo is one you will want to keep an eye on.

The main selling point is how well the rest lowers recoil. This is a common problem with large rifles, so it’s good to see that’s been taken care of here.

The Sled Solo may reduce recoil, but it does not sacrifice performance as you’ll still be on target. It also has rear and front support for stability.

The Sled Solo has a retention strap for your firearm for extra convenience.  It also helps that this shooting rest is made of durable steel and ideal for extended use.

The Sled Solo is newer compared to the other Caldwell lines, but it is effective when it comes to recoil reduction. Adding to the convenience is its pivot elevation mechanism for easy adjustment.

You use a single knob to tweak the settings. The Sled Solo is also built to work with various rifles with precision and dependability.

What I Like
  • Made of solid steel
  • Does a good job of cutting recoil
  • Comes with a gun retention strap
  • Works with various types of guns
What I Didn’t Like
  • Stock area is very large
  • Front post design could be better

#5: CTK® P3 Ultimate Shooting Rest Review

CTK® P3 Ultimate Shooting Rest
The P3 makes my list of the best shooting rest for rifles for its accuracy and versatility.  Designed for both short and long firearms, the P3 is for those who don’t want any compromise in performance.

The rest is easy to use and keeps your rifle accurate and in line. I also like that every contact surface has a marine carpet cover.

The marine carpet is covered for extra durability and prevent scratching. The shooting rest also earns points for its all-around performance. By using the P3 you’ll see improvements in short and long range shooting.

The shooting rest is also effective for taking out varmint and shooting with accuracy. The rest works great as is, but you can buy the Gun Vise Attachment and use it as a gun vise.

The P3 can also be used for aligning cross hairs and bore sighting. It can also be used for installing scopes and leveling guns.

The P3 is constructed from heavy duty steel, making it a good choice for those who who use different firearms.

What I Like
  • Designed for heavy duty use
  • Intuitive adjustments
  • Adjustable length
  • Suitable for different applications
What I Didn’t Like
  • Precision adjustment takes some getting used to
  • Rest level could have used a knob

#6: Caldwell Dead Shot Field Pod Review

Caldwell Deadshot Fieldpod
If bench rests for rifle shooting don’t cut it anymore, it’s time you went for the Dead Shot. At just 5 lbs the Dead Shot is the ideal companion for hunters who want to travel light.

The shooting rest is constructed from light aluminum, but it’s also durable.  You can also adjust the height from 20 to 42” so you’ll be comfortable using it.

The Dead Shot also rotates right and left and pivots up and down for increased versatility. By making these simple adjustments you’ll have an easier time acquiring targets.

Odds are you’re going to use the Dead Shot outdoors, so it’s a good thing the rest is easy to transport.

Because the Dead Shot is so easy to transport, you’ll have no problems taking this when you’re out hunting. Once set up, you’ll be able to shoot with comfort.

The Dead Shot has special lines so you’ll be able to utilize this for a wide range of applications. It also comes with an upper frame that’s designed to work with a crossbow, shotgun or a powerful rifle.

What I Like
  • Improves accuracy
  • Easy to fold and transport
  • Lightweight
  • Convenient adjustment features
What I Didn’t Like
  • More suited for small to medium size guns
  • Legs are short

#7: MTM Predator Shooting Rest Review

MTM Predator Shooting Rest
MTM rifle bench rest reviews have been very positive, and I have to concur. Designed to work with a variety of guns, the Predator is also built with convenience in mind as it is portable too.

The shooting rest has nonslip rubber feet so it doesn’t slip while you use it. This means you can use the Predator with confidence knowing it’ll remain in place.

Its pads don’t mar and provide solid support for barrels and gun stocks. This works regardless of the gun’s or barrel’s shape.

The Predator also comes with a dialed screw pedestal. This adjusts the forearm level precisely for pinpoint positioning.

The Predator is a 2-piece device and weighs only 3.5 lbs. Not only is is lightweight, but it’s also suitable for short and long firearms.

The shooting rest works with a vast array of firearms including Henry level rifles, a 7mm mag and for sighting on a 30-06.

The shooting rest handles recoil very well and makes it easy to hold onto zero easily. It is also as effective with the 270 and 22 rifle.

For sighting and shooting, the Predator gets it done.

What I Like
  • Ideal for rugged environments
  • Precise adjustment options
  • Nonslip feet
  • Lightweight
What I Didn’t Like
  • Too light
  • Rear support should be shorter

#8: Guide Gear Bench Rest Review

Guide Gear Bench Rest
The Guide Bench Rest is good for all-around use with various guns that demand convenience and reliability. Built for left and right handed users, the Guide Gear is also for those who need a support platform.

The Guide Bench Rest weighs only 3 lbs so you won’t have problems using this. Whether it is for shooting or on another firearm project, the Guide Gear Bench can do the job.

The shooting rest has nonslip feet so it’s not going to slip while you’re using it. The rest support has soft rubber to ensure there is no marring.

The Guide Bench Rest also has an adjustable front cradle and adjustable rear yoke. With these you’ll be able to use the rest on any firearm.

This rest is also one of the most durable shooting rests available. It is constructed from solid steel and the powder coating adds to the durability.

Its versatile performance is complemented by the ease by which you can assemble it. Even if if you’re not familiar with a rest, setting it up is easy and adjusting is quick.

What I Like
  • Easy to use
  • Has height adjustment
  • Comes with a stand
  • Simple assembly
What I Didn’t Like
  • Back rest cannot be lowered completely
  • Too tall for a few bench rests

#9: Primos Group Therapy Bench Anchor Adjustable Shooting Rest Review

Primos Group Therapy Bench Anchor Adjustable Shooting Rest
The Primos Shooting Rest is made of solid steel, an indication that it’s suitable for heavy duty use. It is also compatible with a lot of firearms both short and long.

The shooting rest has studded feet, providing the shooting rest with a stable anchor. The rest is also for good for left and right handed users.

The Primos comes with an accessory tray and a front shooting bag. Both are necessary if you’re going to store weight bags and other equipment.

Primos shooting rests are also known for reducing recoil, and this is no exception. What really makes this possible is the butt plate guard.

The shooting rest also comes with a soft touch grip. With this a shooter can fine tune the elevation until it’s at the level you want.

One of the cool things about the Primos is its versatility. By taking out the front rest you’ll be able to use the rest for pistols.

Finally, you can put weights on the trays to minimize the recoil even more.

What I Like
  • The shooting rest is easy to adjust
  • Front shooting bag included
  • Eliminates recoil
  • Made of solid steel
What I Didn’t Like
  • Not compatible with some magnum rifles
  • Paint job is just okay

#10:MTM Front Rifle Rest Review

MTM Front Rifle Rest
The MTM may be designed primarily for a rifle, but it also provides support for handguns. Regardless which you use, the rest provides full functionality.

The MTM shooting rest has been designed for optimum performance. Its rear leg in particular is suitable for handguns.

The shooting rest is extra wide and the 2 point back footing provides greater stability. With this you don’t have to fret about the rest wobbling.

One of the shooting rest’s biggest strengths is the extra stability provided by the nonslip rubber feet. Once you’ve set the MTM up it’s good to go.

The rest also has a three inch vertical deviation for greater accuracy during use. Its adjustments allow for very precise configurations

The rubber shooting pad doesn’t mar, and its versatility is good enough for use for 38 calibers up to large magnums. This is what makes the MTM suitable for different users.

The shooting rest is easy to use, and even if you’re new to these you’ll find it is more convenient to use than other rests.

This shooting rest is a bit heavier than others, but that’s to be expected given the solid built.

For rifle work the MTM is more than sufficient, and it is just as good for pistols and other weapons. When it comes to quality and consistency, this is one of the best that MTM has made.

What I Like
  • Comfortable to use
  • Ideal for long firearms
  • Doesn’t wobble
  • Does not slip
What I Didn’t Like
  • Not as rigid as other shooting rests
  • Elevation lock tightening could be easier

 

How to Choose the Best Shooting Rest

Even if you have the best shooting mats, it won’t be of much use without the right shooting rest.

  • Durability: look for a shooting rest that can take a lot of punishment. This is especially true if you’re going to it for hunting and target shooting.
  • Ease of Use: the whole point of a shooting rest is convenience. An ideal rest is easy to fold and set up.
  • Mechanism: shooting rests have different mechanisms, so you should get one that’s easy to use.
  • If your main concern is minimizing recoil, you’ll need a rest that distributes power evenly.
  • If you are after a shooting rest with agility, a shooting rest and bag combo is the ideal choice.
  • Brand: choose a shooting rest that’s made by a reputable brand. This way you’ll get a good warranty, quality control and customer support.
  • Cost: there is no need to settle for a cheap shooting rest. There are lots of good shooting rests that make it easy to use.

There are other factors that you’ll need to consider as well. For powerful rifles, you’ll need a rest that minimizes recoil as much as possible.

A well-made shooting rest also ensures your shooting position is optimal. All of these rests have adjustment options, but some are easier than others.

Make certain the shooting rest is built for heavy duty use especially if you’re going to use powerful rifles. Proper weight dispersion also helps in this regard.

One of the more important things to remember with these devices is compatibility. That’s why it is important that you check the specifications first.

There are a lot of factors that you have to consider, but the research makes a big difference.

Different Types of Shooting Rest

Before you can determine what the best rifle bench rest is, you’ll need to know the various types of rests you can use. While these are the more common variants, keep in mind that brands are always creating new models.

Full Support Rests

A full support rest is the most ideal for beginners and they are both versatile and stable. These rests are known for their stability and compatible with a lot of rifles.

Full support rests can also be used for mounting scope, bore sighting and all purpose gun cleaning.

You can also set up these rests on a table, bench or on the field.  It is this level of versatility that make these attractive to gun enthusiasts.

Tripod Rests

A tripod rest is often used for bench rest competition. This is also the rest to use if accuracy is of utmost importance.

Tripod rests are built of cast iron, aluminum or other durable materials. That’s another reason why tripod rests are ideal for various applications.

You can adjust the elevation, and its durability means it’s ideal for extensive use in rugged environments and when accuracy is needed.

Bench Rests

A shooting bench is a bench that’s built for shooting accuracy. Provided the bench is solid and even, it can be very effective for long range shooting.

Sandbags

Sandbags are simple but they do work. While sandbags are cheap, they do not provide the same level of accuracy as a real shooting rest.

 Top Shooting Rest Brands

If you’re going to purchase a shooting rest, make sure that it’s by a quality brand. Buying from a good manufacturer is going to make a difference in the long term.

  • Caldwell: the name Caldwell is synonymous with high quality shooting rests. With this you’ll get significant recoil reduction and maximum precision.
  • CTK:  CTK is another brand known for reliability. Their rests have also gotten good feedback for ease of use.
  • MTM: MTM makes some of the finest shooting rests in the market today. All of their shooting rests are recognized for versatility and compatibility with lots of rifles.
  • Guide Gear: Guide Gear shooting rests are built for precision and endurance. They also work with most guns so that’s a plus.
  • Primos: I have included Primos because their shooting rests are made of steel and designed for shooters of varying skills.

How to Use Shooting Rest

The first rule is to get a quality shooting rest like the products reviewed here. The second rule is to follow the instructions given. Some more tips:

  • Adjust the height to the level you’re comfortable with and then lock it. Mechanisms vary so follow the directions on your rest.
  • By re-positioning the shooting rest you’ll be able to modify the windage. Also make certain the shooting rest is correctly aligned with your target.
  • Do not misalign the shooting rest from the recoil line. Doing so will cause problems when you aim and shoot.
  • Ensure the rest’s rear leg is correctly aligned with your riffle.
  • Put the rifle on the front rest close to the forend’s tip. But do not position it too far because it will come off due to the recoil.
  • Relax and focus on hitting the target. Don’t tense up and don’t think twice about using a pad.
  • On most shooting rests you should not string shots together because it leads to barrel overheating and affecting the results.
  • If you’re sitting, set your body upright. This way the effect of the recoil will be reduced.

 Final Verdict

My pick for the top shooting rest is the Caldwell Lead Sled DFT. Yes, all of the shooting rests here are high quality, but the DFT is more effective in all the important aspects and outshines even the other Caldwell rests.

What I really like about the DFT is the way it reduces recoil. Recoil is a major problem for a lot of users, so for this feature alone it’s worth trying out.

Another reason I picked it out as the winner is how well it works with a wide range of rifles,  so it’s number one among the best shooting rests.

Best Shooting Rest Reviews
  • Caldwell Lead Sled DFT
  • Caldwell Lead Sled Plus Recoil Reducing Rifle Rest
  • Caldwell The Rock BR Competition Front Shooting Rest
  • Caldwell Lead Sled Solo Shooting Rest
  • CTK® P3 Ultimate Shooting Rest
  • Caldwell Dead Shot Field Pod
  • MTM Predator Shooting Rest
  • Guide Gear Bench Rest
  • Primos Group Therapy Bench Anchor Adjustable Shooting Rest
  • MTM Front Rifle Rest
4.5

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